Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reflections from the Week

Justus is one week old today. Here is what we've all discovered this week.Brent: "He just peed on my face!!" (yes, boys are a bit more difficult to change than girls. You have to be a bit quicker with the new diaper!)
Avery: "Mommy, are you still pregnant?"
Me: "No, Justus is here. I don't have a baby in my belly anymore"
Avery: "Oh, your belly is just big now?"
(honesty from a 3 year old...keeps you humble!)

Elliana:
"Where's the new baby? I like him a lot." (We hear this about 20 times a day. She needs to know where he is at all times and is pretty good about not touching him or picking him up when I'm not around. )
As for me, I'm just soaking it all in. I've discovered boys poop a whole lot more than girls do...at least Justus does! And it would really be nice to have cable for those middle of the night feedings. Watching infomercials about workout videos is starting to loose its entertainment value!

I can't wait to be up and active again so we can start the routine of our family, but soon enough. As for now, I'm just enjoying the quiet transition into a family of five!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Girls' First Impression

So far, Justus is still a novelty to the girls. Here are some pictures of their first time meeting their baby brother!He didn't sleep at all his first night home, so we'll see how tonight goes! There's nothing worse than a dark house and a screaming baby =) And after the 2nd time trying to get in and out of our bed, I quickly remembered why I didn't want a C-section and why I love pain pills! But praise the Lord for a mom who loves to take care of the girls and me so I can rest some during the day! Thanks for coming and helping out mom. I love you!

To see the rest of the pics from his birth and homecoming, click here

Sunday, March 22, 2009

He's Arrived!!!



Welcome to our family Justus Aunan Minter
Justus: A worshiper of God (Acts 18:7)
A worker in the kingdom of God (Col. 4:11)
Aunan: My maiden name to carry on the heritage of worshipers of Christ which began with my great grandparents


We can't wait for you all to meet him!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Family Fun Day

So after a long week of contractions, no sleep, and fighting being sick, family fun day looked a bit different this week =)We dropped the kids off at a friends so Brent and I could go to the doctor together and check on the baby. That pretty much took up the whole morning! But the baby is still doing great, and Brent and I were able to talk with the doctor about our options if the baby doesn't decide to come on his own this next week. Because we're attempting to do the VBAC, we can't induce but it looks like one way or another, we'll have our new baby boy by next weekend! We can't wait to meet him!

So after the doctor, some lunch, and good naps, Brent sent me off by myself for a few hours. Isn't he the greatest?! He forced me to take some time to myself (something I'm not great at) and just relax before life gets crazy with a newborn. It was wonderful!!! All that to say, Family Fun Day ended up being Family Fun NIGHT.

We cooked tacos and made homemade guacamole togetherWent to our favorite video store where all the kids movies are FREE and rented Cinderella for a family movie night. Avery is obsessed with Cinderella these days; although she doesn't like the stepsisters or the stepmother because they are mean, so is very insistent that those parts of the movie be skipped over. Makes for a short movie night!And had some chocolate pudding for desert. Then Brent and I played Wii tennis and bowling to try to convince the baby to come out...the baby didn't cooperate though =)

All in all, it was just what I needed to give me the energy to finish this pregnancy strong. Emotions and exhaustion were threatening to overtake me as I near the end, but the Lord is so faithful to provide a little bit of relief right when I need it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

As Promised

I promised these pictures a while ago. I know my sisters are really wondering about the whole animal head thing on the wall, so here is the nursery. Now, we just need a baby to put into it!!! =)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is it Time Yet?

Avery: (standing with one hand on my tummy, her face towards the sky, and yelling at the top of her voice) "GOD, LET MY BABY BROTHER COME OUT TODAY SO MY MOMMY QUITS HURTING!"Elliana: (kissing my tummy gently and whispering) "I love you baby brother. Come out soon and play"

I think both girls have covered my own range of emotions quite well =)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Spiritual Journey


Today instead of telling you what I've been learning over the last week, I wanted to share with you a tool that has really helped me in this journey the Lord has me on.

Back story:
December 4th, 2008: Brent woke up one morning with this idea that we knew could only be from the Lord. He shared with me; I immediately just knew that he needed to pursue it (none of those usual wife apprehensions!) , and so this journey began.

He started mapping out ideas for a website that could help foster people's personal interaction with Christ. We both have been on this journey to incorporate spiritual disciplines into our life, knowing the disciplines in and of themselves do not make you holy; however the disciplines are an avenue to allow Christ to work in our lives to make us holy.

Throughout the mapping out process, my brother-in-law, an amazing web coder guy, steps up and offers to help Brent code a website. (anyone else see the Lord's hand in all of this so far?!!!)

What does this mean?:
For the past 2 months, I have been using this site on a daily basis to help foster my own interaction with God. I thought that at first I would like the written Bible studies better, but this site has truly allowed me to go deeper in my personal time with the Lord. I have never been an online Bible reader...until now.

How does it work:
The website address is http://www.examen.me/. Get it EXAMEN.ME =) because the whole point of sitting with Christ is for Him to examen you and change you. (yes, examen is supposed to be spelled that way; its that Latin version).

You can choose which Examen you want to do every day. I love to start with a Psalm Examen in order to get my mind on praising God and off myself. Then I've been going through the New Testament Examens as a study, but you can choose from any where in the Bible that you would like to study. In any of the scripture Examens, you can read the scripture, listen to the scripture, and also journal your response. The journal is saved to your account so at any time you can use a search function to search through your journals or export and print your journals. You do have to create a free account in order to use the journal function.

If you've been following my journey, you know that I've been implementing a middle of the day quiet time with the Lord. I use the Prayer of Examen during this time most days. Its a way to sit quietly with God and allow Him to evaluate how you've lived the last few hours of life, confess things, and just allow God to refocus you.

Why I share this with you:
Yes, I share with you all because I'm extremely proud of my husband. I'm proud of the hard work he's put into this and the dedication he's shown to obey Christ throughout this whole process. BUT, the number one reason I share is because I truly believe this is a great tool for believers. I was reading in Romans 1:1-15 that we are given grace and apostleship in order to help foster obedience in faith among all believers, and this site is one way that I feel can help point people towards a deeper relationship with Christ so that they may walk in obedience with Him.

Check out the site and let me know what you think. And above all, never stop pursuing the one who created you, loved you, and desires to make you more like Him! Enjoy

www.examen.me
I Support EXAMEN.me

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fun Weekends!

Its been a great but busy weekend and now I'm ready for bed =)

Great times catching up with our friends from overseas!
Throwing a prayer shower for Susan and Andrew who are getting married in ONE MONTH!!!! We can't wait for their wedding!

Breakfast and swimming with Grandma and Grandpa who were here for a day on their way back to Iowa. They just sold their house in Texas so its now official...no more family in Texas =(
Chuck E Cheese's for dinner. We had a free coupon and couldn't pass it up when the grandparents were here! (I think Brent may have had just as much fun as the girls!)
It was such a fun weekend to have company. As uncomfortable as this stage of pregnancy is, it was nice to not have a nursing baby and to just be able to enjoy a weekend with friends and family. Now I am exhausted though and my bed is definitely calling my name! I'm going to be praying for a few good naps before this baby decides to arrive and reminds me of a whole new level of exhaustion=)

Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day was great this week! Some of our friends who live overseas are in the country for a few months and spent the night with us Thursday night and then spent the day Friday with us. A little background about our friends...they have 3 kids, ages 3, 22 months, and 11 months. We have two kids, ages 3 and 22 months. Total, that makes 5 kids ages 3 and under and 4 adults staying in our 1700 square foot home. It was a blast!Avery and Micah hit it off right away. Avery loved having someone play bear with her and just run around and have fun.We were also able to combine our families for family devotions on Thursday night. It was fun to watch so many kids praising our Savior.
Friday morning was a lazy day of cooking pancakes, staying in our PJs, eating apples, and playing.After keeping the kiddos in the house all morning, we took them to a pizza buffet place where kids eat free. We ALMOST felt a bit guilty saying " 5 kids, but they're all 3 and under, and 4 adults" The man looked at us like we were crazy as we were only charged $16 for all of us to eat!

It was a great day with great friends. Thanks for coming to stay with us!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

funny stuff

One of my friends watched the girls last Friday night so Brent and I could go out. While we were gone, she "interviewed" the girls and recorded their responses. Here were their answers:

What do you want to name your baby brother?
A: Sam E. Chicken

What are you going to teach him?
A: to play baby toys E: Baby bottle dancing

How are you going to help mommy when the baby is born?
A: Give him a bottle E: Wear a necklace

What do you think his favorite color will be?
A: Gray E: E-I-E-I-O oink oink oink

What will you say to your baby when you see him?
A: I'm Avery, I've been waiting for you to come out. I love You
E: Ooooh Aaaahhh

What songs will you sing to him?
A: Holy, Holy, Holy, God is fwee pewsons, bwessed tinity
E: Happy Birthday

What color eyes do you think he'll have?
A: Red E: no comment

What color hair do you think he'll have?
A: blue E: no comment

Then she left this comment about the girls for the evening.

"They were great. The way you guys describe them is perfect...Avery follows all the rules and knows where everything is. Elliana likes to mix things up a bit!"

Isn't that the truth. Avery is my typical first born rule follower and Elliana likes to run along quietly behind her breaking all the rules and driving Avery crazy! Aren't kids the greatest =)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sisters

What could be better on a rainy and cold day then reading books with your sister.

Nesting???

Is this what they call the nesting instinct?The last time all the curtains in the house were washed, ironed, and hung back up was the week before Elliana was born!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Piper!!

We love you Piper. Hope you've had a great birthday!!!!


video

My Spiritual Journey

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God...Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after RIGHTEOUSNESS, for they shall be satisfied."

The Lord keeps "shaking" me! This past week, after a conversation with one of my sisters about things she's learning, the Lord began convicting me of some sin in my life. Some sin of unforgiveness, of hurts I haven't let go, of selfishness on my part as I approach certain relationships...all things I want to argue with God about. All things I want to feel justified in my feelings about. All things that I feel I have a right to feel. All things that I don't REALLY want to work on because I know it means I'll have to sacrifice myself in order to walk in obedience. The journey isn't always a peace of cake is it?!!!

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall see mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God"

So I shared with Brent what I knew God was calling me to do so he could hold me accountable and now the praying begins. The giving over of selfishness when I don't really want to make an effort because I know it won't be appreciated. The giving over of pride when I don't really want to listen because I know the other person may never change. The unselfishness of praying for God to work mightily, EVEN IF it means I will never see the outcome I desire or hear the words "please forgive me" from some lips. The praying begins and will continue.

"Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

My sister reminded me that God does not call us to only pursue things which fulfill us or make us feel good about ourselves. She reminded me that God calls us to work as unto Him at all times, even if it means we get hurt, even if it means we have to travel a hard road of self sacrifice, even if it means we lay down ourselves for the benefit of someone else EVEN THOUGH it may never benefit us. Things you know in your head, have been taught since you were a young child, but are extremely hard to put into practice when the hurt hits close to home.

Who knew mediating on Hebrews 12:26-29 and memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5) were going to "shake" me up so much?!! Isn't it good to worship a Father who is alive and continues to mold you into his image, even when it means "shaking" up your life a bit? =)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Yea for Baby Showers!

Saturday morning, my friends threw me such a fun baby shower.For the rest of Saturday, it was impossible for me to sit down and be still. Its like the shower put me in gear to get everything done at once to prepare for this new baby!

So the deer head is hung, the clothes are washed, the nursing supplies are bought, the diapers are organized, the girls have Easter clothes, Elli's 2nd birthday party is planned, my lesson plans are done for the year... I was on a roll until Brent forced me to sit down, take a breath, and reminded me we still have a couple weeks!

There's nothing like a baby shower to get you motivated. Thanks for such a great day!!!!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Family Fun Day

Only a few more Fridays until we'll have a new addition to our family fun days! Here's a run down of this past Friday:
Some puppet making time
Played a little bit of BuckerooPlayed at the park (no pictures of that one...totally forgot the camera!) Read TONS of books (they both love to read!)
And Brent and I ended the day with a night out for just us. (Thanks for the free babysitting Ellie!!!)
I treasure the flexibility that our Friday's give us right now. It should be interesting to see how they have to change once this new little guy arrives! I can't wait to meet him and begin a whole new adventure as he joins our family. But in the meantime, we love our family fun days =)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Feel like a bad mom?

Ever have those bad mom feelings? You know the ones where you take your kids to the doctor and preface the visit by saying you're pretty sure the kids aren't sick but need to make sure before the baby comes. And then the doctor comes back and says the words "significant ear infection and sinus infection". Oops!! Totally missed those symptoms! Maybe that's why they've been so whiny the last few days =)I have to admit though, I do love sick days. Its such a great excuse to eat breakfast for every meal and lay around and watch cartoons. Something this very pregnant mommy dreams of frequently!
Both girls are now on antibiotics, and I'm sure will be back to normal energy levels by tomorrow afternoon so I'm going to enjoy laying on the couch with my feet up while I can =)
What do you do when you're sick?

The girls

The ArtistAnd the musician

Monday, March 02, 2009

My Spiritual Journey

If you've been following my journey at all, you know that I have been focused on the spiritual disciplines of prayer and meditation. Last week, I talked about meditating on Hebrews 12 and about allowing the Lord to "shake" me a bit this week. Here's where I'm at in this fun journey =)

Restlessness...
my thoughts are restless, my actions are restless. I just couldn't seem to stop and focus this past week. I jumped from one thing to the next, never finishing a thing. The house was full of half done stuff. This restlessness spilled over into everything. I forgot to return phone calls, I forgot to book hotel rooms for my family, I forgot to pick up my groceries and take them to the car after I payed for them, I forgot my wallet at Wal Mart. I just couldn't focus on life because of this restlessness.

What does this mean?
I wanted to just talk to God about it and lay it at His feet. I knew that He had a purpose and was doing something in me, but I didn't know what. So I prayed and prayed and continued to feel restless. Slowly over the week, the Lord has been revealing to me that He is "shaking" that "pray and talk to God and then move on" mentality. Praying is more than just asking and talking. It is opening every point of my heart to Jesus and then being still and quiet and listening. Without the stillness and listening, I'm not allowing Jesus to reveal those sin issues in my heart nor am I truly dealing with the junk that needs dealt with. I've known this and practiced it, but God wanted more from me this week. He is so faithful to keep pulling me deeper into prayer and intimacy with Him, but being still and quiet is hard when you're restless!

What did I do
I am working on my prayers becoming a quiet waiting for the Lord. To sit and listen to what He has to say about my sinful habits. To listen to who and what He desires me to pray for. He alone has power over my restless thoughts, and he alone can focus me on Him. I can't concentrate hard enough or focus long enough to keep my thoughts on God. Life will always have urgent things vying for my mind's attention. But complete submission to Him is what cures my restlessness.

Goals from last week:
  • Still memorizing and meditating: I'm through Matthew 5:1-17
  • Still reading "Created to Be His Help Meet". I started meeting with one of my friends to discuss the book as we read it.
  • I have tried a couple different books about prayer, but keep coming back to "Prayer" by O. Hallesby. I think I'm going to reread it because this journey I'm on with prayer takes a lot of work!
Goals for next week:
  • Memorize Matthew 5: 1-20
  • Read 2 more chapters out of "Prayer" and go through the study guide
  • Work on sitting and being still before the Lord before I jump into my time with Him. Use that middle of the day time I have set aside to work on listening to Him.